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Work Experience Requirement and Expectation of Construction Management Students in ACCE-accredited Construction Management Programs

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Construction 3: Beyond the Academy: Leveraging Partnerships, Internships, and Outreach

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Paper Authors


Kamalesh Panthi East Carolina University

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Dr. Kamalesh Panthi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Construction Management at East Carolina University, North Carolina. He has over 13 years of research, teaching and construction industry experience by working in USA, Thailand, and Nepal. His research interests span the areas of risk management, contract management, safety management, and construction materials. His research area is centered on risk analysis of construction projects with an aim to quantify their impact. He has published over fifteen articles in peer-reviewed conferences and journals.

Dr. Panthi has worked in heavy civil and commercial construction projects in the past. He was involved in the design team of many hydro-power construction projects. He successfully oversaw the construction of a small hydro-power project as a project manager. He also worked as a contracts administrator for Bovis Lend Lease in Phuket, Thailand where he was responsible for managing contracts for over 50 sub-contractors working for the CM at various times in the construction of a resort project.

As a faculty member at East Carolina University he has taught in the areas of Construction Materials, Soils and Foundation, Global Management of Construction. He has served as a technical committee member in several international conferences; reviewer for several peer reviewed journals such as Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, ASCE; and Built Environment Project and Asset Management. He also served as one of the editors of Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century: Construction Challenges in the New Decade.

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Donna A. Hollar East Carolina University

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Assistant Professor, Dept. of Construction Management.
Dr. Hollar has been with ECU for over 20 years. Her research interests span workplace issues such as construction safety, ethics and productivity, and leadership development. During 2016, she received a grant to investigate the effectiveness of peer mentoring for safety improvement of construction workers. Previously, Dr. Hollar received the ELECTRI International 2014 Early Career Award.

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George C. Wang P.E. East Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. George Wang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Construction Management of East Carolina University. His research interests include infrastructure construction engineering and management, ethics education in engineering and construction, risk management in construction, environmental and energy aspects in constructed facilities, nontraditional materials utilization in construction, concrete and asphalt technology.

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Undergraduate construction management programs are designed to provide students with construction technology and business management related academic preparation for entry careers into the construction industry. Classroom and laboratory instruction are the major pedagogical styles employed, with practical experience gained through student internships on actual construction related projects. This study stems from the need to define the quantity and nature of skills students should acquire through an internship in order to meet the expectations of hiring companies for their future entry-level employees.

Within the construction management programs accredited by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE), the exact number of programs requiring internships as part of their defined undergraduate course of study is not readily available. Through a phone survey involving 39 ACCE programs, 23 (59%) have an internship component as part of their degree requirements. Students typically obtain internship positions during summer sessions between spring and fall academic terms. Although summer sessions vary in length, a twelve week internship duration is accepted as a baseline generating approximately 500 hours of experience for the intern. Ten of the 23 programs require more than 500 hours of experience, whereas 11 of the 23 programs require less. Construction companies employing student interns may have differing levels of internship program development. Some have formalized, structured programs, whereas others do not. The tasks and responsibilities assigned to students are often not well defined nor balanced in applying a broad skill set associated with the students’ level of academic preparation. Further inquiries were made into job tasks typically assigned to a student intern. Thirty-two members of a program’s industry advisory board provided input on task assignments. Many of the tasks identified were management-related. A third constituent involved in internships is the student. Construction management students were surveyed to determine their perception on the appropriate quantity of work hours comprising their internship, and the job tasks assigned. Whereas, all parties expressed value in having students involved in management-related functions, only 1 in 4 students reported these types of tasks were actually performed during their internships.

Findings of this study provide construction management educators and construction industry representatives with relevant information for curriculum and internship program development. Additionally, the results aid students majoring in construction management to evaluate internship opportunities critically so they are best prepared for full-time employment at graduation.

Keywords: ACCE, Construction Management, Co-op, Internship, Students, Work Experience

Panthi, K., & Hollar, D. A., & Wang, G. C. (2017, June), Work Experience Requirement and Expectation of Construction Management Students in ACCE-accredited Construction Management Programs Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29137

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